Thursday November 5th 2015
At 3rd November’s meeting of Midlothian Council, the SNP Administration accepted an amendment from Green councillor Ian Baxter to their own motion which resulted in the council adopting a very strong position opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated between the United States and Europe.
The original motion, while expressing opposition to TTIP, stressed only the risk to local services and the NHS in particular. However, the amendment ensured the council resolved to oppose all aspects of the proposed treaty, concentrating on the impact on local authorities. It also instructs the council to take action to campaign actively against TTIP and to join with other councils and organisations which are doing so.
Councillor Baxter said, “Although the impact of TTIP on public services is important, I was keen that we didn’t lose sight of all the other implications, particularly where they might affect how the council operates. We may for example lose any right to source local produce as well as seeing environmental protection or food standards watered down”.
Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns for Edinburgh-based social justice organisation Global Justice Now said, “TTIP could threaten the ability of local councils to specify local suppliers for their contracts and services, and could open up the procurement process to competition from multi-national companies. We’re delighted that Midlothian councillors have recognised this and responded to public concern about TTIP by opposing this controversial trade deal and showing that they are willing to stand up for local democracy. Midlothian is the fourth council in Scotland to pass such a motion, and one of more than a thousand across Europe who are against TTIP.”
The original SNP motion can be downloaded here (item 6c) – http://www.midlothian.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/455/midlothian_council
The amended motion as passed reads as follows –
Midlothian Council is opposed to Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership becauseTTIP could have a detrimental impact on local services, employment, suppliers and decision-making.
This council resolves:
1. To write to the UK Prime Minister, Scottish First Minister , local MPs, MSPs, and all Scottish MEPs raising our serious concerns about the impact of TTIP on local authorities and the secrecy of the negotiating process and to urge the Prime Minister to use the veto to prevent TTIP progressing.
2. To write to COSLA to raise our serious concerns about the impact of TTIP on local authorities and ask them to raise these with government on our behalf.
3. To call for an impact assessment on the impact of TTIP on local authorities.
4. To publicise the council’s concerns about TTIP; join with other local authorities which are opposed to TTIP across Europe and work with local campaigners to raise awareness about the problems of TTIP.